Another Klein focal point -besides related with the idea of peoplei?? s immunity due to the abuse of advertising- is that agencies kept on advertisement development and consequently it appeared an advertising investment wheel where as she supports “the more you spend, the more your company is worth14”. As a result, the spending on advertising increased steadily leading to a world where nothing has been left unbranded. Likewise, Lasn also writes about the establishment of an unstoppable consumption wheel on Americai??
s society that as he says is driving peoplei?? s culture and making them sick15. However, whereas Klein is focused on the advertising wheel that is adding value to the companies brands, Lasn explains that people are experiencing a consumption wheel where the more they get the more they want. According to Lasn, the guilty party of this consumer behaviour is precisely due to the constant rise on advertising that Klein argued.
So, basically both different wheels mentioned by the two authors are related, yet one -consumption wheel- is the consequence of the other -advertising wheel. Moreover, according to Lasn the unique result of the abusive advertising conduct by companies is the increase on consumeri?? s dissatisfaction that is making theirs lives shallow and meaningless16, and subsequently is polluting peoplei?? s mental environment. Afterwards, Klein argues about the appearance of the seemingly brand crisis era .
She says that it seemed to be the beginning of a period where price reductions were the aim rather than putting resources into fabulously expensive ad campaigns17. However, she also points out that even though the nineties clearly seemed to be all about real value, a “no-name future18”, there were still advertisers carrying on with the idea of “adding nothing but marketing19”. In other words, the kind of corporate advertising that Lasn criticizes as the largest single psychological project ever undertaken by the human race20.
As Klein mentions, big companies such as Nike or Starbucks never went through that crisis because they always kept on with the strategy of “establishing emotional ties21″, that in Lasn view -as mentioned before- these strategies were based on creating connections between deep immaterial needs and material products22. Klein explains how for one instance, Starbucks does not sell just coffee, they also sell and offer a combination of comfort, commodity and community in their stores; they sell a way of life.
This sort of marketing, works, sells and encourages people to contemplate Starbucksi?? products as a rewarding coffee experience rather than just a coffee chain. The success of these big companies is due to the imposition of the brand as a lifestyle; and as Klein states ” Brand X is not a product but a way of life, an attitude, a set of values, a look, an idea23″. In other words, a world leaded by logos, brands, labels, sponsors, which as Lasn says means a nowadays media environment where the advertisers rule and the sponsor is the king24. Furthermore, Lasn criticizes how Americai??
s world -that Klein writes about it, dominated by companies based on branding as a way of life- has culminated in a lack of freedom of expression against the powerful companies that rule the world25. In my opinion, I strongly agree with the authors perspective that we are living in a completely marketed world where brands are the main feature people look at before purchasing, above taking into account other features such as quality or even price. For one instance, when buying a plain t-shirt at Tommy Hilfiger people do not take a look to the label in order to know the price, they are just focused on the logoi??
s brand. The nowadays mentality is that the bigger the logoi?? s brand of what you are wearing is, the more you will highlight that you are wearing branded clothes. Moreover, brands are synonym of being “cool”. Still, does this mean that we are just following tends and doing what everyone does? This text remind me of how we tend to accept facts or ideas without even critically questioning them. As Gramsci states everyone who is not critical and aware automatically belongs to a human group26. Are we really aware and conscious about our decisions or are we merely “imposed by the external environment27”?
If we are, who leads these trends? In my view, I agree with the fact that the world is ruled by advertisers where sponsors are the kings and have led to a globalized world. Moreover, I also agree with the authors that we live in a manufactured world which there is not unmarketed space. A world where we are all controlled and merely labels as Lasn clearly reflects on the cover image of the book “Culture Jam: The uncooling of America”. This image shows the back side of a man with a bar code on his neck trying to reflect that we are just as products that can be controlled and monitored with a number code.
The globalized world we live in is responsible of exploiting poor countries with resources so as to make huge amounts of money. The issue is, who is behind that power abuse? As it is clearly seen in the “Economic Hitmen28” multinationals and brands are, and there is lack of awareness by people of the situation. Customers do not think when they purchase for instance brand trousers that they might have been sewn by kids that are exploited and work in illegal conditions. In my view, the world we live in is just leaded for a few powerful people that they even control the economy.
A good example of this situation would be the documentary of “The Inside Job” where it is criticized that economists knew that the crisis would happen, but still were on the sideline, due to the circumstances and also factors such as money. “Economics faced lots of opposing critics, so many economic specialists were on the side of the banks, allowing the financial crisis to occur in 200829”. This shows that we live in a world that is dominated by money and not by critical thinking. To this point, I ask myself, where are peoplei?? s moral values?
Do we not consider them important any more? Do we really take them into account in our daily decisions? In my opinion, we do not realise how out of our control everything that involves money is becoming and the lack of sensitiveness that this branded world has led us to. In conclusion, our world is developing to the point where everything has been created, invented and manipulated but what marketers might not have realised about is that people are becoming immune to all types of advertisements and these would create in my opinion a new challenge for marketers to re-promote their brands.